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Cherry Orange Mini Cheesecakes

by Lori on February 16th, 2014

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Now you can eat an entire cheesecake and not feel guilty. Make these mini cherry orange cheesecakes baked in muffin tins for portion control! There is just one problem with this recipe though. The creamy cheesecake and sweet/tart cherry orange topping are so delicious, it is hard to stop with just one.

About the recipe
This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on the PBS website. Who knew they had a section on their website called “Kitchen Explorers”? You can click here to find the original recipe for Two-Bite Mini Cheesecakes.

Here are the modifications I made to the recipe:

  • For the graham cracker crust, I added 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. The nutmeg really enhanced the other flavors.
  • For the filling, I replaced lemon juice with orange juice.
  • For the topping, instead of jam, I used cherry pie filling mixed with a little orange juice and orange zest. There is nothing better than cherries on top of a cheesecake, except maybe blueberries. That would be good with this too.
  • For the muffin tin, I used a standard sized tin instead of a mini muffin tin. So instead of 12 super mini cheesecakes, I ended up with six somewhat mini cheesecakes. The larger size also meant I needed to bake them a little longer. I baked these for about 20 minutes, instead of the 16 minutes called for in the original recipe.

How to make it
Did I mention this is super easy to make too? Here’s how to make it.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then grind some graham crackers in the food processor, until you have about 1/3 cup of cracker crumbs.

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Next, add in a tablespoon of melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg, and continue to process.

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Your crumb mixture should look like this when you are finished.

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Put about two teaspoons of the crumb mixture into each paper-lined muffin cup.  Bake the crusts for about 5 minutes.

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Now, blend together your cream cheese and sugar. Tip: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. Let it sit out for about an hour before doing this step. That will make your batter less lumpy, and more smooth and creamy.

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Then add in an egg, vanilla and orange juice. Another tip: Also make sure your egg is at room temperature.  I’m not sure why. The original recipe says to do this.

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Blend until the batter is smooth and creamy – and there are no more lumps.

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Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of the batter into the crust-lined muffin cups.

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Bake the mini cheescakes for about 20 minutes. They will no longer jiggle and puff up a bit when they are done. They should look like this:

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Let the cheescakes cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. Then remove them from the tin, and place them on plates in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once the cheescakes have set in the freezer, it will be easier to remove the paper liners.

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Store the little cheesecakes in the refrigerator while you make the topping.

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Scoop a can of cherry pie filling into a bowl.

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Stir in 1/4 cup orange juice.

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Then stir in the zest from about 1/2 an orange.

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Place a spoonful (or two) of filling on top of the mini cheescakes, and enjoy!

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The Recipe: Cherry Orange Mini Cheesecakes

Summary : A creamy cheesecake with a sweet/tart topping adapted from the recipe for Two-Bite Mini Cheesecakes on the PBS website, Kitchen Explorers.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the cheesecake:
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 (15 oz.) can of cherry pie filling
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind together the graham crackers crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a food processor.
  3. Press about 2 teaspoons of the crumb mixture into paper-lined muffin cups.
  4. Bake the crusts for 5 minutes.
  5. Blend together the cream cheese and sugar.
  6. Add the egg, vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon orange juice to the cream cheese mixture. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  7. Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture over the crusts in each muffin cup.
  8. Bake the cheesecakes for about 20 minutes.
  9. Let the cheescakes cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the cheesecakes to plates in the freezer. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the paper linings from the cheesecakes, and refrigerate.
  12. Stir together the cherry pie filling, orange juice and orange zest.
  13. Spoon the cherry filling mixture on top of the mini cheesecakes, and serve.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 20 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6

My rating: 5 stars :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

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